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Nominations are open for the 2021 EBC Ascending Leader Award!

About the Award

2021 marks the fifth year of the EBC Ascending Leader Award. The Award recognizes young professionals in the energy and environmental sectors demonstrating exceptional leadership and industry involvement early in their careers. All nominations are reviewed by a committee of both established professionals from the EBC Board of Directors and members of EBC’s Ascending Professionals Committee.

Selection criteria include but are not limited to:

  • Demonstrated leadership, either formal (through position and role) or informal (i.e. thought leadership on critical issues)
  • Early career success and rapid advancement in the energy / environmental sectors
  • Industry and/or civic involvement, or recognition outside of employment
  • 1-10 years of industry experience
  • Employed by an EBC Member company

Please submit your nomination for the 2021 EBC Ascending Leader Award below. The nomination period will close on Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.

Nomination Form

EBC Ascending Leader Award Nomination Form

2017 marks the inaugural year of the EBC Ascending Leader Awards. The Awards will recognize young professionals in the energy and environmental sectors demonstrating exceptional leadership and industry involvement early in their careers. All nominations will be reviewed by a committee of both established professionals from the EBC Board of Directors and members of EBC's Young Environmental Professionals Committee. The final votes will come from a meeting of the EBC Board of Directors. All are encouraged to nominate a young leader! Selection criteria should include but not be limited to: Demonstrated leadership, either formal (through position and role) or informal (i.e. thought leadership on critical issues); Early career success and rapid advancement in the energy / environmental sectors; Industry involvement or recognition outside of employment; 1-10 years of industry experience
  • Nominee Contact Information

    Please provide contact information for the person being nominated to receive an EBC Ascending Leader Award.
  • Describe the Nominee's Qualifications

    Please describe a few examples of the nominee's leadership, either formal leadership or informal leadership, his or her professional background, and his or her industry involvement or recognition outside of employment.
  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf.
  • Nomination Submitted By:


Past Recipients

The 2020 Award Recipients

Click to View the Recipient Bios

Liz Desjardins, Staff Engineer
Tighe & Bond

Liz Desjardins is an Environmental Engineer for Tighe & Bond, Inc. based in Westwood, Massachusetts. Working on both private and municipal projects, Liz specializes in site/civil projects including renewable energy, stormwater management, and utility infrastructure. She got her start in Environmental Engineering while attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and received high honors upon graduation. She then began to zero in on a career path and found her passion for renewable energy by joining the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Clean Energy Internship Program where she became an intern for Tighe & Bond.

Liz quickly progressed from intern to full-time employee and in just 3 years has already made an indelible mark on the renewable energy work Tighe & Bond is advancing throughout the Northeast. She has worked on multiple solar energy projects up to 60MWDC in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. Some of these projects include her contributions to the design of an 8.1-megawatt (MW) solar project in Worcester, Massachusetts on the Greenwood Street Landfill and most recently the current development of Nutmeg Solar, LLC’s 19.6MW solar project that will power about 4,300 homes in Enfield, Connecticut. While her work spans many facets of a project, she has become a go-to engineer in the firm for her expertise in the development of stormwater management analysis and design, and preparation of stormwater pollution control plans for solar projects.

Liz is a leader within her industry through her involvement in committees and programs that help to encourage STEM education and careers. Serving as a judge for the Worcester Regional Science & Engineering Fair and participating in WPI’s chapter of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists’ annual career panel are some ways she enjoys contributing to the community that encouraged her to be an engineer. Liz is an active member of the New England Women in Energy and the Environment Rising Professionals Committee and part of the leadership team for the EBC Ascending Professionals Committee.

Colleen Heath, Project Manager
CDM Smith

Colleen Heath is a Project Technical Leader and Project Manager at CDM Smith in Boston, Massachusetts with nine years of experience in the field. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 2011 and her Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering in 2017, both from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Upon receiving her undergraduate degree, she immediately began her professional career with CDM Smith, a leading global consulting, engineering, construction, and operations firm of more than 5,000 professionals delivering integrated solutions in water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities. She earned her Professional Engineer (PE) License in Civil Engineering in 2015.

As a lead project engineer in the firm’s Water Services Group, she has contributed on a variety of water distribution and water quality projects in the New England area. Her project experience includes water distribution system hydraulic modeling, water system master planning, water loss control evaluations, pipeline condition assessment, water distribution and transmission main rehabilitation and replacement projects, water storage tank rehabilitation, and pumping station modifications. Additionally, she is responsible for mentoring and training junior staff and for contributing to the firm’s conveyance practice through various knowledge sharing initiatives.

Ms. Heath is an enthusiastic volunteer, remaining active with her alma mater, WPI, to help recruit new talent for CDM Smith and share her experience in the industry through presentations and career panels. She is the current Chair of the Membership Committee for the New England Water Works Association (NEWWA) and is a former Chair of their Young Professionals Committee. Ms. Heath also serves on the Water Loss Control Committee and Water Main Rehabilitation Committee for the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and will be a contributing author to the AWWA Manual M36 on Water Audits and Loss Control Programs. She has presented several papers at both NEWWA and AWWA Conferences. Additionally, she contributed to the Massachusetts Water Conservation Standards Update from 2013 to 2014 and served as an instructor for a Water Audit Workshop for the Massachusetts Water Works Association in 2013.

Dylan J. King, Associate
Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.

Dylan J. King is an environmental lawyer in the Boston office of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., the oldest and largest environmental law firm in the United States. Dylan’s legal practice is at the forefront of emerging environmental issues, including PFAS litigation and regulatory issues and complex remediation and cost allocation proceedings in New England and around the country. His environmental law experience spans numerous industries vital to the New England economy, including solid waste, commercial composting, agriculture, logging, medical device manufacturing coating, and pollution controls for motor vehicles. Dylan also maintains an active Massachusetts pro bono practice, representing local companies, nonprofits, and individuals who do not otherwise have ready access to legal counsel.

Dylan earned his Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Ecology Sciences from the University of Maine in 2010, with a focus on natural resource economics. He attended the Sea Education Association program at Woods Hole, where he conducted oceanographic and marine biology field research. He later earned his law degree from Vermont Law School, serving as Head Notes Editor on the Vermont Law Review and earning a certificate in energy law. During his time at Vermont Law School, Dylan served as an Academic Success Mentor and continues to mentor many graduating law school students and junior attorneys in the Boston area, particularly in the environmental and energy law sectors.

Dylan is active with many professional organizations in Boston, including the EBC and the Boston Bar Association. In 2019 Dylan founded and continues to lead a growing group of emerging environmental lawyers and law students in the Boston area. The group serves as a place for environmental lawyers relatively new to the practice to network and discuss their work. In his free time, Dylan is an avid fly fisherman and sailor.

Michael X Macrae, Ph.D., Regulatory Affairs Northeast Region
Enel North America, Inc.

Michael X Macrae earned his PhD in chemistry at the University of California San Diego in 2011 where his dissertation research focused on developing sensors for trace environmental toxins and etiological agents as well as on developing nanofluidic diodes.

In 2012 Michael transitioned to environmental air compliance management with DSG Solutions, assisting clients across New England and the US with state and federal regulatory emissions reports, permit applications, and GHG inventories.

In 2013 he joined Harvard University, managing the regulatory air compliance and voluntary GHG emission programs. In addition to ensuring federal, state, and Operating Permit air compliance, Michael led the University’s efforts to permit a new 8 MW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit, at the time the largest project to utilize special Massachusetts air permitting regulations designed to encourage new district CHP energy facilities. He also oversaw the air permitting process for Harvard’s new District Energy Facility in Allston. In addition to regulatory air compliance, he led Harvard’s voluntary GHG inventory program and successfully completed the University’s first Climate Registry verified emission inventory as part of Harvard’s 2016 GHG reduction goal.

In 2017, Michael took on a new challenge as Energy Analytics Manager for Harvard’s Engineering & Utilities group, developing energy and budget analysis strategies to meet future energy supply, environmental, and sustainability needs. In that role, he served as the liaison to the Massachusetts energy, environment, and utility regulatory agencies supporting the University’s combined operational and environmental interests. As Harvard’s NEPOOL representative, Michael advocated ISO-NE for market rules that balance reliability with costs, while being a mindful supporter of his organization’s strong environmental and clean energy commitments. In 2019, he was elected as the Vice-Chair of the NEPOOL End User sector. In this capacity, he served as the voice to ISO-NE of an incredibly broad range of interests across the sector. Michael also served on the ISO-NE Board of Directors Joint Nominating Committee, along with the other NEPOOL Officers and ISO Board members responsible for selecting new members for the ISO-NE Board of Directors.

In August 2020, Michael joined Enel North America’s Regulatory Affairs team focusing on development of Enel’s market advocacy strategy for the Northeast. In this new capacity he will support the growth of Enel North America’s existing and new Distributed Energy Resources, Renewable and Storage Resources, Demand Response, and Electric Vehicle Infrastructure solutions.

Michael is also a member of his town’s municipal Light Board Advisory Committee, Treasurer of the HeatSmart Alliance, which is focused on low emission heating technologies, and an Instructor at Harvard University, where he teaches a course on measuring and mitigating indirect greenhouse gas emissions.

Valerie Moore, Associate
Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP

Valerie A. Moore is an associate in the Real Estate Department of Nutter McClennen and Fish LLP. Clients rely on Valerie’s counsel in a variety of real estate matters, including land use, affordable housing, construction, zoning, and environmental permitting and litigation. She helps clients work with local, state, and federal government agencies, on issues of compliance as well as partnering with government entities. A wide range of clients, including commercial real estate developers and residential and commercial property owners, frequently turn to Valerie in permitting and environmental matters. Private landowners value Valerie’s advice on the development of land under local zoning and wetlands bylaws, the Massachusetts Public Waterfront Protection Act chapter 91, and applicable easements. Valerie has extensive experience representing clients before the Land Court, the Appeals Court, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Housing Appeals Committee, and municipal zoning boards and conservation commissions. Representative matters include: Wetlands permitting for a large agricultural project in an Area of Critical Environmental Concern; Appealing a special permit denial for an affordable housing project and obtaining a special permit on a negotiated remand; Permitting for large commercial and multifamily developments throughout Massachusetts; Defending a special permit appeal for a large senior living community; Permitting analysis and due diligence for the acquisition of a large multifamily project; Defending an appeal of a zoning map change; and Waterways permitting and appeals under M.G.L. c. 91. Valerie continues her leadership outside the firm as a member of the Boston Bar Association and CREW Boston and has been selected to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Leadership Program for 2019-2020. Valerie is the former Chair of the Ascending Professionals Committee of the Environmental Business Council of New England and serves on the Board of Directors of the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House. Valerie received her J.D. cum laude from Boston University School of Law and her B.A. in Political Science and Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst summa cum laude and with Commonwealth College Honors With Highest Distinction.

Nathalie Schils, Director of Offshore Energy
Tetra Tech, Inc.

Nathalie Schils is a Senior Project Manager and the Director of Tetra Tech’s Offshore Energy Program, supporting clients with permitting and siting for offshore wind projects from the Gulf of Maine to North Carolina as well as on the West Coast. Ms. Schils graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University in 2012 with a dual focus in Environmental Science and International Relations. She joined Tetra Tech in 2012 as an Environmental Scientist working in natural resource management for large U.S. Navy installations before transitioning to energy siting and permitting for oil and gas as well as renewable energy projects. As a Senior Project Manager, Ms. Schils has supported development of several Site Assessment Plans (SAPs) and two Construction and Operations Plans (COPs), including the first-ever agency approved SAP for the Bay State Wind Project. Ms. Schils also directs Tetra Tech’s overall efforts as a leader in the offshore wind industry, including client relations, bids and proposals, marketing, and staff development.

In 2018, Ms. Schils was nominated to participate in Tetra Tech’s Leadership Academy, a selection of 30 candidates from across the company selected for a year-long program including quarterly workshops to learn more about the company and develop both business and leadership skills. Ms. Schils has continued her leadership development through participation in the High Performance Mentoring Program at Tetra Tech. Ms. Schils has also held leadership positions with Net Impact’s Boston chapter and the Northeast Energy and Commerce Association’s Young Professionals Committee. Ms. Schils is currently serving as a co-host for EBC’s upcoming Eight Annual Offshore Wind Conference scheduled for Winter 2020.

Jessica Wall, Senior Associate
Anderson & Kreiger

Jessica Wall is an environmental, energy, and land use attorney at Anderson & Kreiger LLP in Boston.  Jess provides strategic counsel to public, private, and institutional clients on a range of permitting and transactional matters, compliance issues, due diligence, and project development.  She has considerable experience in MEPA, Chapter 91, and wetlands issues, and is a co-author of the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education’s treatise concerning waterfront law.  Jess also advises clients on hazardous waste cleanups, solar projects, and sustainable and resilient development.  Jess leads the legal team for the largest salt marsh restoration project in the Northeast, and has helped a prominent ocean-focused nonprofit develop innovative ocean conservation strategies.

Jess serves as Co-Chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Hazardous and Solid Waste Subcommittee of the Environmental Law Section, and has presented at BBA events on energy storage matters, stormwater issues, and standing in environmental litigation.  In past years, she was selected to be a member of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program and the Planning Committee for the American Bar Association’s national conference on environmental law.  Her work has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America and Massachusetts Super Lawyers.  Jess is a graduate of Brown University and Boston University School of Law.

The 2019 Award Recipients

EBC 2019 Ascending Leader Award Recipients

The 2018 Award Recipients

Click to View the Recipient Bios

EBC 2018 Ascending Leader Award Recipients

The 2017 Award Recipients

Click to View the Recipient Bios

EBC 2017 Ascending Leader Award Recipients